Get to know the Global Opportunities Team and what has inspired us to travel the world and help students to do the same! We also find out why the GO Team love Queen Mary and their top picks to visit in East London.
This week we sat down with Erasmus+ Coordinator Colleen Jaycox to find out about her adventures from home in the USA, to living in France and now London…
What’s your role at QMUL?
Erasmus+ Coordinator in the Global Opportunities Office, coordinating Erasmus+ mobility periods for incoming and outgoing students and staff, particularly those through the International Credit Mobility Programme (ICM) with our partners beyond Europe.
What made you choose to live in London?
After graduating, I decided to return back to the city in France where I had studied abroad, but this time to work as an English language assistant in a secondary school. That began what ended up being nearly a decade of living, working and becoming naturalised as a French citizen in a country I now call home.
However, after 9 years in the same city, I began to feel restless for a new adventure and a career move. The idea to move to London (where I had several friends and enjoyed frequent visits by hopping across the Channel) hit me one sunny day in May during a park run and spread throughout my mind like wildfire. Three months later, I made it to my new city for endless new experiences, feeling much more confident than I had felt when moving to France as a 21 year old.
Favourite spot on Queen Mary campus?
Sitting along the canal to eat lunch in the sun and watch the canal boats go by is a pretty site you don’t often get in an urban jungle.
Do you prefer to travel solo or in a group?
I would have to say that traveling every summer for several years in a row with the same group of close friends I made during my year teaching as an English assistant has to be one of the treasures I’ve enjoyed most in life. Being together in New York, Madrid, Berlin, London, Edinburgh…has kept our friendship strong and our wanderlust feet healthy.
Is there anything you could get back home (France or US), but can’t find in the UK?
In France, having excellent bread for a reasonable price at a bakery around every corner is something I admit I sometimes took for granted. France has set my expectations high! The views of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan also tug at my heartstrings – it would be great if both these homes were closer!
If you could study at any of our Erasmus+ partners, where would you go?
I would likely opt for spending a year in Italy for the feast it offers both visual and literal. A great opportunity would be to study International Relations and Politics (a minor specialisation from when I studied at university) at Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi. I have strangely still not yet travelled to Italy (a tragedy to my heritage, as my great-grandparents hailed from Ravenna), so I would have much catching up to do in restaurants and art galleries as well!
Did you study abroad?
I spent a year in Rennes, France studying French language and civilisation at the Université Rennes 2. The photograph of me is from our weekend excursion to visit the Loire Valley châteaux, where the roof of Chambord completely overwhelmed me!
Favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?
It would have to be a toss-up between Berlin (for the culture and music), Madrid (for the sun and friends I frequently visit there) or Málaga (for the beach and holiday feel of the city). However, the rugged coastline all along the region of Brittany jutting out into the Atlantic is breath-taking (Cancale, Monts d’Arree, Crozon, Saint-Lunaire…), and my memories of it have been formed from when I had the pleasure of taking many hikes and trips there with friends. Too many from which to choose!
If you could live somewhere else in the world where would it be?
Somewhere in rural Spain or Italy with beautiful vistas where my family could come visit, and we could have outdoor meals together and drink good wine on summer evenings.